Culture / Travel

Doing the Swiss Alps Like a True Mountain Man (or Woman) — 3 Stunning Towns You Must Visit and Your What to Do Guide

Switzerland Hotels, Restaurants and More to Put On Your Itinerary

BY // 09.22.23

The potential destinations for a memorable European jaunt are seemingly endless, with sparkling coastlines, ornate architecture and rolling hills surrounding metropolises and quaint village spanning the continent. One place that still clearly sets itself apart though is Switzerland’s breathtaking Alps. 

A cherished staple of the landscape of the uber polite, efficient and culture-filled country, the mountainous land boasts some of the globe’s most breathtaking views with picturesque peaks, lush greenery and turquoise lakes. No matter the season, a Swiss holiday makes for a truly memorable vacation for any adventure, wellness, or foodie traveler. Anyone, really, who appreciates a jaw-dropping view at every turn.

While there is a long list of possible mountain destinations in Switzerland, there are several notable stops with unique five-star resorts that standout.

This is your guide to the Swiss Alps:

Zurich

Starting your journey in Zurich is a great way to acclimate yourself to the mountain excitement ahead. A flight to the pristine town in Switzerland — a connection is required from both Houston and Dallas) — will allow time for any jet lag cures needed and get you in a vacation state of mind.

The Dolder Grand Hotel makes for an ideal luxury retreat, perched atop the hills above Zurich’s historic old town center. Built at the end of the 19th century, The Dolder reopened in 2008 after an extensive renovation. The hotel boasts sweeping views of Lake Zurich and that quintessential Swiss elegance. The stately Dolder gives an old-world welcome, but its spacious suites, sprawling 43,000 square-foot spa and Michelin-nodded food are all very modern.

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The spa offerings will treat every whim, with the facilities featuring a state-of-the-art Aqua Zone, which includes sensory deprivation cold plunges, powerful saunas and even an ice chamber, with indoor-outdoor pools as a focal point. All overlooking the city and tall that scenery.

The Dolder Grand Hotel Zurich Spa
The Spa at The Dolder Grand Hotel is a wellness sanctuary with 43,000 square feet of treatment rooms, plunge pools, saunas and more. 

A day exploring the winding paths of Old Town, popping into cafes and galleries along the Limmat River, will set a laid-back Swiss rhythm. Before crawling into your cozy room at The Dolder Grand, snag a table at Kronenhalle, the iconic fine dining restaurant known as a watering hole for some of Europe’s most legendary names back in the day. Here you can enjoy classic Swiss food next to masterpieces from Picasso, Miros and more.

Now, you’re living your best Swiss life. 

Lucerne, The Swiss Alps’ Charming Bridge Town

Switzerland’s efficient and reliable train system allows visitors to conveniently hop from one city to another in comfort. A quick hour train from Zurich to Lucerne will put travelers in a charming, historic old town with 14th century bridges connecting passersby to more culture. 

The Kapellbrücke (literally, Chapel Bridge) is a covered wooden footbridge that is an iconic part of Lucerne's town center in the Swiss Alps.
The Kapellbrücke (literally, Chapel Bridge) is a covered wooden footbridge that is an iconic part of Lucerne’s town center in the Swiss Alps.

For the ultimate Lucerne vantage point, escape above the city to Bürgenstock, a mountaintop retreat overlooking Lake Lucerne. This 150-year-old resort boasts multiple hotels, all perched in a stunning cliffside setting, bringing luxury accommodations and a five-star experience.

Names like Audrey Hepburn, Sofia Loren and more were regulars of the alpine outpost with some of the best views in Europe. It is a setting even a postcard cannot adequately capture.

Zermatt

A stop in Zermatt brings a getaway that truly puts you amidst the peaks. A beautiful train ride through the mountains delivers you to a bustling Swiss Alps village brimming with that iconic mountain chalet aesthetic and laid-back luxury. With the majestic Matterhorn mountain peak as the backdrop, the walkable town with wooden shingled buildings is as endearing as the flower boxes adorning every window. 

But where should you stay in Zermatt?

The Omnia is a contemporary hotel in the heart of town, making for a great home base between adventures. The Omnia boasts modern suites with sleek architectural details and doting service. With only 30 rooms, the hotel is easy to navigate around and enjoy its many areas of hospitality and service. Its as if you’re staying in your cool Swiss friend’s house, but with every luxury amenity you can think of. 

Arriving to The Omnia is like arriving to meet James Bond at a sleek and exclusive luxury haven. The hotel’s porter escorts guest via an electric buggy through a dark rocky cave to unveil a lit driveway with an elevator. Just up the elevator and you’re instantly transported to The Omnia’s lounge with its crackling fireplace, welcoming bookshelves and sweeping views of the quaint village. 

The expansive terrace and comfortable lounge area are calming spaces to relax with morning coffee or afternoon cocktails while overlooking Zermatt. The hotel’s wellness center is a huge draw, with an indoor outdoor swimming pool and and a bubbling hot tub perfect for unwinding after a long day on the mountain. The hotel’s spa is cozy and accommodating with a menu of luxurious treatments that can be booked daily. 

The hotel’s restaurant offers a next-level gastronomic experience that will undoubtedly join the ranks of this tiny town’s other Michelin star restaurant winners. 

Between fine dining delights, there should be plenty of chances to drop into old school dives for cozy Swiss comfort food. These types of places dot the town streets between swanky shops and cute cafes.

Zermatt Switzerland
Zermatt is a picturesque Swiss mountain town offering the best of European Alpine hospitality. 

The stunning scenery for mountain adventuring, hiking, rock climbing and mountain biking will keep visitors busy in the summer. Then, it’s world-class skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling in the winter.

With a range of trails and ski paths, Zermatt makes it easy to hop from one site to another with its train and gondola system, shuttling sportsmen up and down the mountains through glaciers, gorges and lakes to find their next adventure point. Quaint dining huts serve local comforts like raclette and lager to sustain these weary explorers. 

With so many Swiss Alpine escapes and limited getaway time, you’ll spend the flight home Googling charming chalets for your next trip to Switzerland. After all, one trip to the Swiss Alps never will be enough.

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